Candidates vying for South Florida, Treasure Coast congressional seats

3 incumbents face competition in primary; fourth will face primary winner in November
Brian Mast, Alcee Hastings, Lois Frankel and Ted Deutch, congressional candidates
Posted at 11:51 PM, Aug 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-17 23:51:50-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Several South Florida congressional seats will be on the line during Tuesday's primary election.

One Republican and three Democrats are seeking re-election in Florida's congressional districts spanning the Treasure Coast and Palm Beach County.

District 18

Brian Mast will face off against Nick Vessio in the Republican primary, while Pam Keith will take on Oz Vazquez in the Democratic primary.

Mast, who took office in 2017, is the incumbent in District 18.

Brian Mast in February 2020
Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., speaks during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing in Washington, Friday, Feb. 28, 2020.

Vessio is a retired New York police sergeant.

Keith, an attorney and former U.S. Navy lawyer, has received several high-profile endorsements, including former Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Vazquez is Florida's former deputy solicitor under Republican Pam Bondi, who served as attorney general from 2011-19.

District 18 includes parts of Port St. Lucie, Fort Pierce, Stuart and Jupiter.

District 20

Alcee Hastings is seeking re-election. To do so, he must defeat a familiar opponent in the primary.

Alcee Hastings in December 2019
Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., a member of the House Rules Committee, gestures as he leaves a leadership meeting as the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives begins a day of debate on the impeachment charges against President Donald Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019.

Hastings was first elected in 1992 and is currently serving his 14th term in Congress.

His Democratic opponent, Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, is the chief executive officer of Trinity Health Care Services. She lost to Hastings in 2018.

Hastings will face one of two Republicans in the November election. Vic DeGrammont, a real estate agent and first-generation Haitian-American, will battle Greg Musselwhite, a welding inspector, in the Republican primary.

District 20 includes parts of West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale.

District 21

Lois Frankel is being challenged by Guido Weiss for her congressional seat.

Frankel, who was first elected to Congress in 2012, previously served as the mayor of West Palm Beach.

Lois Frankel speaks to Adam Schiff in February 2020
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., talks with Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla., before President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020.

Her opponent touts himself as the only Democratic candidate who was born and raised in the district.

Weiss has worked in the U.S. House of Representatives as a senior foreign affairs and defense adviser since 2016.

Six Republican candidates -- Christian Acosta, Elizabeth Felton, Laura Loomer, Aaron Scanlan, Reba Sherrill and Michael Vilardi -- are vying for the seat.

Acosta is a Boynton Beach native and associate professor at Palm Beach State College.

Felton is a Lantana resident and co-owner of Safari Bob's Exotic Educational Animals. She has no previous political experience.

Loomer is by far the most recognizable name in the crowd. The self-described "most banned woman on the internet" has been barred from virtually every social media platform, including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, as well as ride-sharing services Lyft and Uber.

Laura Loomer at New York women's march in January 2019
Political activist Laura Loomer, right, holds a sign across the street from a rally organized by Women's March NYC after she barged onto the stage interrupting Women's March NYC director Agunda Okeyo, who was speaking during a rally in Lower Manhattan, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019, in New York. Loomer was escorted off the stage after the incident.

Scanlan is a U.S. Air Force veteran and former police officer in Port St. Lucie and Jupiter.

Sherrill, a Palm Beach resident, is a health and wellness advocate whose campaign website flaunts her allegiance to President Donald Trump.

Vilardi is a retired IRS criminal investigator and the president of Winning Tax Solutions.

District 21 includes Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, Boynton Beach and Delray Beach.

District 22

Ted Deutch is running unopposed on the Democratic ticket, but he will face opposition in November.

Ted Deutch in December 2019
Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., votes to approve the second article of impeachment against President Donald Trump during a House Judiciary Committee meeting, Friday, Dec. 13, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

The four candidates who are challenging him in the Republican primary are Fran Flynn, a retired business owner, Jessi Melton, a Boca Raton resident and owner of a communications company, James Pruden, a retired business law attorney who lives in Parkland, and Darlene Swaffar, an insurance brokerage firm owner in Deerfield Beach.

District 22 runs from Fort Lauderdale north to Boca Raton and westward to communities in Broward County.